When you are being attacked, can you show restraint? When you are being pursued, can you show restraint? When you are being accused, can you show restraint? When you have an opportunity, can you show restraint? When you have the ability, can you show restraint?
In the midst of the heat of the moment, can you have the wisdom and the peace to think straight and restrain yourself from doing something you shouldn’t? Can you show restraint so as to not do something that would make you guilty?
Today’s reading shows just such a situation between David and Saul…
David Again Spares Saul
1Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon?” 2So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, 3,000 chosen men of Israel with him, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon, by the road. But David was staying in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul had come after him into the wilderness. 4So David sent out spies and realized that Saul had already arrived. 5Then David got up and went to the place where Saul had camped. David detected the spot where Saul lay asleep, as well as Abner son of Ner his army commander. Saul was lying inside the barricade and the troops were camped around him. 6Then David spoke and asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” “I will go down with you,” Abishai answered. 7So David and Abishai approached the troops by night. Behold, Saul was lying asleep within the barricade with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the troops were sleeping around him. 8Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand today. Now let me pin him to the ground with a single thrust of the spear. I will not have to strike him twice.” 9But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! For who can lay his hand on Adonai’s anointed and be guiltless?” 10David added, “As Adonai lives, either Adonai will strike him down, or his day will come to die, or he will go down to battle and be swept away. 11Adonai forbid that I should lay my hand on Adonai’s anointed! Now, just take the spear that is at his head and the water jar and let’s go.” 12So David took the spear and the water jar from beside Saul’s head. They got away—and no one saw it, or knew it, or woke up—for all were asleep, for a deep sleep from Adonai had fallen upon them. 13Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on the top of a distant hill with a wide space between them. 14David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner saying, “Aren’t you going to answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered saying, “Who are you, who called out to the king?” 15“Aren’t you a man?” David said to Abner. “Indeed, who is like you in Israel? So, why didn’t you guard your lord the king? For one of the troops came in to kill the king your lord. 16This thing that you’ve done is no good. As Adonai lives, all of you deserve to die, because you have not kept watching over your lord, Adonai’s anointed. So now, look around, where are the king’s spear and the water jar that were at his head?” 17Saul then recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, David my son?” “It is my voice, my lord the king,” David said, 18then added, “Yet why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? 19Now please, let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If Adonai has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if men have done so, then cursed are they before Adonai, because they have now driven me out that I would not cling to Adonai’s inheritance, saying: ‘Go, worship other gods.’ 20So now, let not my blood fall to the ground, away from the presence of Adonai. For the king of Israel has come out to search for but a single flea, just as one hunts for a partridge in the mountains.” 21Then Saul replied, “I have sinned! Return, David my son, for I will no longer do you harm, since my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I’ve played the fool and erred so seriously.” 22David then answered and said, “There is the king’s spear! Let one of the young men cross over and take it. 23Adonai will repay everyone his righteousness and his faithfulness. For Adonai gave you into my hand today, but I refused to lay my hand on Adonai’s anointed. 24See, just as your life was highly valued in my eyes today, so let my life be highly valued in Adonai’s eyes, and may He deliver me from all trouble.” 25Then Saul said to David, “Blessed are you, David my son! You will both do mightily and will surely prevail.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.
-from 1 Samuel 26
Can you show restraint and be different from the others? Can you show restraint and live different than others? From amongst the multitude, can you be called out? Consider Jabez…
1The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal. 2Reaiah the son of Shobal fathered Jahath, and Jahath fathered Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites. 3These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash. The name of their sister was Hazlelponi. 4Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the descendants of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Beth-lehem. 5Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 6Naarah bore him Ahuzam, Hepher, Timeni and Ahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. 7The sons of Helah: Zereth, Zohar and Ethnan. 8Koz fathered Anub and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel, the son of Harum.
Prayer of Jabez
9Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Jabez called out to the God of Israel, saying, “If only You would greatly bless me, and enlarge my territory. Let Your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I might not suffer pain.” Adonai granted what he asked.
Other Descendants of Judah
11Chelub, the brother of Shuhah, fathered Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. 12Eshton fathered Beth-rapha, Paseah and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These were the men of Recah. 13The sons of Kenaz: Othniel and Seraiah. The sons of Othniel: Hatath 14and Meonothai, who fathered Ophrah. Seraiah fathered Joab, the father of Ge-harashim , for they were craftsmen. 15The sons of Caleb, son of Jephunneh: Iru, Elah and Naam. The son of Elah: Kenaz. 16The sons of Jehallelel: Ziph, Ziphah, Tiriah and Asarel. 17The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. She also bore Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18(His Judahite wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soho and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah.) These were the sons of Bithiah, Pharaoh’s daughter whom Mered married. 19The sons of Hodiah’s wife, the sister of Naham: the father of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite. 20The sons of Shimon: Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-hanan and Tilon. The sons of Ishi: Zoheth and Ben-zoheth. 21The sons of Shelah, son of Judah: Er the father of Lecah, Ladah the father of Mareshah, the families of the linen workers at Beth-ashbea, 22and Jokim, the men of Cozeba, and Joash and Saraph, who had dominion in Moab and Jashubi-lehem (the records are ancient). 23These were the potters and those who lived in Netaim and Gederah; they lived there while doing the king’s work.
Descendants of Simeon
24The sons of Simeon: Nemuel, Jamim, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul, 25his son Shallum, his son Mibsam, and his son Mishma. 26The descendants of Mishma: Hammuel, Zaccur his son and Shimei his son. 27Now Shimei had 16 sons and six daughters. But his brothers did not have many sons, so their family did not become as numerous as the sons of Judah. 28They dwelt in Beer-sheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, 29Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri and Shaaraim. These were their towns until the reign of David, 32together with their villages, Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen and Ashan—five in all, 33along with all the villages that surrounded these towns as far as Baal. These were their habitations. Registered in their genealogical records were: 34Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah the son of Amaziah, 35Joel, Jehu son of Joshibiah, son of Seraiah, son of Asiel, 36Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshoaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, 37and Ziza son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah— 38these mentioned by name were leaders in their families, and their clans increased greatly. 39Now they went to the entrance of Gedor, to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40They found rich and good pasture, and the land was spacious, quiet, and peaceful. The former inhabitants were Hamites. 41Now those whose names are recorded came during the days of King Hezekiah of Judah. They attacked the encampments of the Hamites, as well as the Meunim who were found there, and utterly wiped them out to this very day. They settled in their place because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42About 500 of them from the descendants of Simeon, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, went to Mount Seir 43where they struck down the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they live there to this day.
–from 1 Chronicles 4
Will your restraint show humility? Will your restraint help you to seek out the lost? Will your restraint help you to serve others? Will your restraint help you to restore others gently? Will your restraint keep you from bitterness, hate, anger, sadness but rather allow you to forgive others? Will you restraint allow you to forgive them 7×70 times?
1At that hour the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2And He called a child to Himself, set him in the midst of them, 3and said, “Amen, I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever then shall humble himself like this child, this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one such child in My name, welcomes Me. 6“But whoever causes one of these little ones who trust in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea! 7Woe to the world because of snares! For snares must come, but woe to that man through whom the snare comes! 8“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna. 9If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life with one eye than, having two eyes, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.
Parable of the Lost Sheep
10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father in heaven. 11[footnote: Some manuscripts add verse 11: For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost;] 12“What do you think? If a certain man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go looking for the one that is straying? 13And if he finds it, amen I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t stray. 14Even so, it’s not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
Restoring a Lost Brother
15“Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take with you one or two more, so that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.’ 17But if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to Messiah’s community. And if he refuses to listen even to Messiah’s community, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector. 18“Amen, I tell you, whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven. 19Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”
Lessons about Forgiveness
21Then Peter came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Yeshua said to him, “No, not up to seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven! 23Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he had begun to settle up, a man was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25But since he didn’t have the money to repay, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26Then the slave fell on his knees and begged him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll repay you everything.’ 27And the master of that slave, filled with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt. 28“Now that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii. And he grabbed him and started choking him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe!’ 29“So his fellow slave fell down and kept begging him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 30Yet he was unwilling. Instead, he went off and threw the man into prison until he paid back all he owed. 31“So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply distressed. They went to their master and reported in detail all that had happened. 32Then summoning the first slave, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Wasn’t it necessary for you also to show mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed mercy to you?’ 34Enraged, the master handed him over to the torturers until he paid back all he owed. 35“So also My heavenly Father will do to you, unless each of you, from your hearts, forgives his brother.”
–from Matthew 18